Nelson allows marijuana dispensaries to operate into 2019

Medical cannabis dispensaries won’t be penalized for operating until their recreational applications are heard

The city has given a break to the Nelson medical cannabis dispensaries that hope to switch to recreational cannabis sales in the new year.

The business licences of Leaf Cross, Kootenay’s Medicine Tree and the Nelson Potorium will expire Dec. 31, so each would technically be operating in contravention of city bylaws if they continued into the new year.

Last summer council developed a scoring matrix to help it decide which applicants for recreational licences they should approve, once the applicants clear the provincial government’s screening. The matrix applies a 20-point penalty (out of a score of 100) to any business applicant whose “owners failed to comply with previous city regulations.”

However, at its Dec. 3 meeting, council considered a letter from Jim Leslie of Kootenay’s Medicine Tree asking that council waive the 20-point penalty for his and the two above-mentioned businesses if they continue to operate as dispensaries into the new year until such time as the province conducts a site inspection for their recreational applications.

Council approved the request without discussion.

Leslie explained that a penalty would put them out of the running for a recreational retail licence. And he said waiving the penalty would buy more time for people who depend on the dispensaries for medicine.

“Simply put, this is another stop-gap measure to make sure no medical cannabis patient gets hurt by having their access cut off to medicine from the medical cannabis dispensaries they have come to trust and rely on,” Leslie wrote.

Related:

• Nelson council refines proposed recreational cannabis bylaws

• Nelson council approves cannabis business selection system

• Nelson council relents on medical cannabis licences

• Four Nelson marijuana dispensaries to remain open after legalization

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